Archive for ‘OMA | Rem Koolhaas’

January 1, 2012

Milstein Hall | OMA

‘milstein hall cornell university’ by OMA in ithaca, new york, USA
all images courtesy cornell / AAP
image © william staffield

‘milstein hall’, the first new building for the cornell university college of architecture, art,
and planning
 (AAP), has celebrated its grand opening in ithaca, new york, USA.
designed by internationally-recognized architecture practice OMA, the 14,000 m2
educational complex spatially connects the originally fragmented area between four existing
buildings with an elevated horizontal plate outfitted with floor-to-ceiling glass.

exterior view during construction
image © william staffield

inserted into the interstitial space between rand, sibley, the foundrys and tjaden hall,
the new facility focuses on the stimulating the interaction of programs while allowing
flexibility over time. the operation and activities of the buildings is made transparent on
the ground level by an angled glass facade which overlooks the sunken in 282-seat auditorium.
manipulations of the floor plate resulted in a hill-like bulge that caters to a number of programs:
the computer labs and meeting areas are housed under the curved form while the seats of
the auditorium follow the natural incline of the structure; a portion of the hill penetrates out
into the exterior, providing a playful communal space complete with pod-like LED stools,
while the peak that punctures the upper plate provides an access point to the rest of the building.

face during installation
image © william staffield

the higher level of the new hall provides an open layout for studios and work space.
wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing, the interior benefits from a generous amount of natural
daylight. a grid of skylights on the green roof further facilitates sunlight into the studios.

under the elevated volume
image © william staffield

views of stairwell
images © william staffield

studio level wrapping around existing hall
image © william staffield

floor-to-ceiling window
image © william staffield

studio space
image © william staffield

(left) up to street level
(right) auditorium
images © william staffield

image © william staffield

peak of the bulge from studio level
image © william staffield

lifted up floor plate with a view into the lower level
image © william staffield

staircase in basement
image © william staffield

image © william staffield

exterior bulge
image © william staffield

LED pods during installation
image © william staffield

planting the green roof
image © william staffield

roof lights
image © william staffield

physical model

view from the gorge

level -1

level 0

level +1

roof level

rendered fly-by view

street view

exterior view from street level 

exterior meeting space

view into auditorium

interior view of staircase up to studio level


project info: 

partners in charge: rem koolhaas, shohei shigematsu
associate in charge: ziad shehab
team: jason long, michael smith, troy schaum, charles bermean,
amparo casani, noah shepherd, alasdair graham, torsten schroeder,
joshua beck, erica goetz, margaret arbanas, matthew seidel,
tsuyoshi nakamoto, ritchie tao, konrad krupinski, kengo skorick,
martin schliefer, marcin ganczarski, tanner merkeley, konstantin august,
klaas kresse, mathieu de paepe, suzanna waldron, daphna glaubert,
beatriz minquez de molina, jesse seegers, james davies, esa rustkeepaa,
daniel gerber, paul georgeadis, julianna gola, betty ng, michael jefferson

executive architect: KHA architects, LLC
structural engineer: robert silman associates
MEP engineer: plus group consulting engineering
engineering servies: gryphon international
facade design and engineering consultant: front, inc.
acoustical consultant: DHV VB
elevator consultant: persohn/hahn associates
IT/data/security consultant: archi-technology
lighting consultant: tillotson design associates, inc.
audio/visual consultant: acentech
roofing consultant: BPD roof consulting, inc.
sustainability consultant: BVM engineering
models: OMA / model en objekt / made by mistake

A commission with a troubled history, OMA’s design for Milstein Hall reveals and relishes in the problem of creating architecture about architecture.

Credit: Jason Koski, Cornell University Photography

In the punishing history of higher education in architecture, the first decade of the 21st century may be remembered as something of a respite. This is not thanks to any maturation of a pedagogy in which the necessary routine of critique is all too often abused as an opportunity for ritual bullying.

It’s because drawing got more digital, and digital projectors got more affordable. A student narrating a slide presentation of computational renderings from the back of a cinematically darkened room stands shoulder to shoulder with his or her critics and colleagues, addressing the image of the work in collaboratively parallel gaze. The student’s back is neither figuratively nor literally up against the wall on which the paper (and the student, like a butterfly) is pinned. The darkness and displacement of a projected review eases the spatial positioning and social hierarchy that—in acute combination—have earned such crits, and their associated spaces, such nicknames as the Shooting Gallery, the Execution Chamber, and the Kill Floor.

Today, the new affordability of big, bright, liquid-crystal-display flat screens may be shifting the dynamic back, returning the student to the front of the room and the line of fire. This was the setup I saw during a recent visit to Milstein Hall, a $52 million, 47,000-square-foot addition to Cornell University’s College of Art, Architecture & Planning in Ithaca, N.Y., completed in October by Rem Koolhaas, Shohei Shigematsu, and Ziad Shehab of OMA. The addition incorporates the architecture school’s historic home in the scruffy but sturdily Sullivanesque Rand Hall, confirming the firm’s stated new interest in what Koolhaas, in a recent lecture at Cornell, called, “not-exactly-preservation, [and] in performance more than shape.”

The new addition features some 25,000 square feet of uninterrupted studio space in an airy Miesian box, about 150 feet wide, elevated and cantilevered 48 feet toward an adjacent gorge. This structure is supported largely by steel hybrid truss systems that appear to bulge blobbishly up from the seeming ground plane below, like a stray piece of late Corbusian roofscape. Those flat-screen crits take place in a circular arena directly inside the mound, the outer slopes of which accommodate the steep pitch of a 275-seat auditorium. Complex spatial overlaps, formal excisions, and glassy openings at the intersection of box and blob accommodate a constellation of primary circulation and secondary assembly and display spaces, as well as the many surprising oblique sight lines between them.

A student’s first clients are, conversationally and judgmentally, his or her teachers. And in this sense, to be commissioned to design an architecture school is to be sent back to the Kill Floor. This may explain why Milstein Hall looks a little like a student project with something to prove: a brilliant big idea, its resolutely off-the-shelf parts contrasting with feverishly fussy features. Consider the auditorium’s semi-robotic armchairs.

OMA’s usual jolie laide here becomes a kind of didactic precocity, as with the deep hybrid-Warren-and-Vierendeel trusses whose webs progressively tilt toward the studio box’s periphery to accommodate moment load—as if someone dropped the model on the way to the crit and decided it worked.

This back-to-school dynamic may also explain some of the troubled history of the Cornell project. It began with a 1997 reprimand from the National Architectural Accreditation Board for inadequate facilities, a 1999 gift of $10 million from developer Paul Milstein, and an aborted addition and renovation by Boston firm Schwartz/Silver Architects. There followed a competition to replace Rand Hall.

The contest garnered an icy palisade from Peter Zumthor and a lead zeppelin from Thom Mayne, FAIA, among other entries; Stephen Holl won in April 2001 with a $25 million incised cuboid. A year later, Holl was off the job, releasing a colorful statement that, “Like a brain surgeon operating on his own brain, making architecture for an architecture school is a peculiarly difficult challenge. I’ve been involved in the process of five different architecture schools over the past 13 years and believe it is one of the most difficult architectural commissions.”

There followed an unbuilt and unlovable 2002 design by Barkow Leibinger Architects, a serviceable bar building in the vein of the industrial structures in which the then relatively obscure Berlin firm specialized. Even after the commission of Koolhaas in early 2006, all was not settled. OMA’s initial scheme underwhelmed both avant- and derrière-gardes, and its fate became embroiled in local and academic politics, with the usual questions of context and taste compounded by the effect on endowed institutions of the ongoing financial crisis. Only a further NAAB caution in 2008 and a dramatic university vote in early 2009 ultimately tipped the scales.

Cornell’s saga was perhaps unusually public, but not unusual: architecture-school buildings are legendarily tricky, suffering either from excessive effort, or recessive deference, by designers and clients. Where they succeed, it’s through monomaniacal zeal, as at Paul Rudolph’s Art+Architecture Building at Yale University, or serendipitous adaptive reuse of existing structures, as at London’s Architectural Association. Or at Cornell, strangely, through a touch of both.

In architecture, profession and academy are mutually complicit through the intricate politics of both as well as through the Beaux-Arts ideal of the atelier: architects of substance are generally expected to teach, and employees are, under internship and registration rubrics, expected to go on learning. And the schools are where, in Holl’s acute metaphor, architecture goes to perform brain surgery on itself.

Cornell occupies a notable position in the history of that surgery. It’s the home of the lively Cornell Journal of Architecture, recently revived; it’s the alma mater of Peter Eisenman, AIA, a prominent practitioner who is largely responsible for the consensus that architects, whatever else they’re guilty of, should think. (Or at least read.) Koolhaas himself, another noted architect-as-public-intellectual, famously studied there for a few semesters in 1972 and 1973, at the hands of Oswald Mathias Ungers, then department chair, and the canonical theorist Colin Rowe—whose own interests in urbanity and transparency became those of a generation of designers and critics.

During a recent walk around the new building, I asked Koolhaas what he learned as a student at Cornell. “I learned listening,” he said. He was referring to the philosopher Michel Foucault, who was visiting Cornell at the time when Koolhaas studied, at work on what would become his most directly architectural project, 1975’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, a study of the spatial structures of power (and vice versa), that featured the Panopticon prison of Jeremy Bentham.

Asked later what Cornell’s current students might have learned during his return, Koolhaas speculated that they may have been reminded that “they’re on ground where warfare has been played out.” He was referring not to the usual skirmishes of construction management, but to Cornell’s own past, during his student semesters, as a cauldron of architectural discourse and discord—largely between Ungers’s maddening method and Rowe’s methodical madness.

At its rare best, the violence at any architecture school reflects these moments of theoretical urgency and anxiety in the field. The intimacy and immediacy of design teaching enlists students, in a glorious absence of condescension, into the essential battles of their day. At its very worst, this violence turns a school into a prison worthy of Foucault: an isolated and self-regarding enclosure that enforces habitual hierarchy and ritual conformity; that reinforces the great embarrassments of a profession whose offices are known for their screamers and chest-beaters. In this sense, Koolhaas may have given Cornell a building to live up to—as the subversive subtleties of its section continually offer its students a means of spectacular or speculative escape and escapade, a means for bearing witness and listening in, a means for experiencing adjacent events and outside worlds.

It’s a built form of accountability: that central circular crit space, lined by LCD-screens and students, could easily have become a prison yard like that of the Arnhem Koepel Panopticon prison in the Netherlands speculatively renovated by OMA in 1980. But to lean your back against its wall is to liberatingly occupy sight lines to simultaneous spaces and events, from the familiar luminous ceiling of the studio glimpsed through a stairwell, to the nearby skateboarder enjoying the slope outside. It is to experience something of a heteropticon or peripateticon, in which moving eyes and feet on nearby bridge and stair and elevator all offer felicitous encounter and interrupting incident.

Milstein Hall invites the notion that architecture is, in our current political language, more occupation than discipline. The building enables, perhaps demands, a transparency of action and an urbanity of event that would gratify both Foucault and Rowe. As both would attest, the names that we give places matter. It’s encouraging that during their first fall there, students have dubbed a favorite pin-up spot, perched at the far edge of a cantilever under the moody Ithaca sky, not a familiar architecture-school nickname borrowed from the language of incarceration, but something altogether lovelier: the Dance Floor.

The extension of the Cornell College of Architecture, Art and Planning in Ithaca, where Rem Koolhaas studied architecture in a time of ferment
This article was originally published in Domus 952, November 2011It is a seminal year for architecture in America. Minoru Yamasaki completes the Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the world. Louis Kahn delivers a canonical pair as well—the Phillips Exeter Academy Library and the Kimbell Art Museum. Yale gets its independent Architecture School, located in a bush-hammered concrete castle-like mammoth of a building by Paul Rudolph, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design inaugurates its robust Gund Hall by John Andrews. Back in New York, One Penn Plaza opens, a textbook example of “Manhattanism” designed by Kahn & Jacobs, the associate firm on Mies’s Seagram Building—and the firm where author Ayn Rand witnesses firsthand architectural hubris while inventing Howard Roark, the protagonist in her novel The Fountainhead.1972 is also “the year Modern architecture died”. Charles Jencks’s statement in reference to the demolition of Pruitt-Igoe, another Yamasaki-designed modernist housing project in St. Louis, announces the end of the JFK/Johnson era of reconstructing civil society, which produced a wave of bold, new-brutalist public and academic buildings throughout the US. Nixon’s contrary urban policies put an end to such construction and spur a second wave of suburbanisation amplified by Vietnam veterans returning home. Learning from Las Vegas is published; things get messy; Post-Modernism is born.It is this year that Rem Koolhaas relocates to Ithaca, New York, to study at Cornell University. The College of Architecture, Art and Planning—which counts among its graduates Peter Eisenman and his cousin Richard Meier—is led at that time by Oswald Mathias Ungers, OMU to friends. The school is situated in the 19th-century Sibley Hall at the Arts Quad on campus. Next door, I.M. Pei’s iconic Johnson Museum of Art, a concrete building with massive rectangular forms and cantilevered spaces, is nearing completion. With its ingenious stacked programme, Pei realises one of the last forward-looking buildings on East Coast campuses for years.

Ungers’s tenure at Cornell (1969–1975) not only serves as a catalyst for his career but also solidifies the department’s international reputation as a centre of architectural thought, particularly Rationalism and Post-Modernism. His themes of transformation, interpretation, typology and metamorphosis affect the young Koolhaas. The early work by OMA—founded in 1975—is unmistakably influenced by the post-modern discourse of the time. Different from its contemporaries, however, OMA develops its specific breed of Post-Modernism, employing modern rather than classical signs and symbols, as illustrated by their contribution to Paolo Portoghesi’s 1980 Venice Biennale titled The Presence of the Past.

Top: West facade of Milstein Hall,<br /><br />
the new wing of the College<br /><br />
of Architecture, Art and<br /><br />
Planning at Cornell University.<br /><br />
The pavilion is grafted<br /><br />
between Sibley Hall and<br /><br />
Rand Hall. Above:<br /><br />
the overhang structure<br /><br />
of the design workshops,<br /><br />
clad in striated marble.
Testo alternativo ImmagineTop: West facade of Milstein Hall, the new wing of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. The pavilion is grafted between Sibley Hall and Rand Hall. Above: the overhang structure of the design workshops, clad in striated marble.
After public repulsion to the late-modern building boom in the United States, university architecture wholeheartedly embraces the supposedly humanist, historical post-modern style. Robert Venturi, Michael Graves and Charles Moore leave their marks on campuses throughout the country. Over time, Post-Modernism loses its novelty and initial critical edge. It transforms into neoclassicism, which, with a few notable exceptions, becomes the default style for any university project—a safe bet to secure donors. Milstein Hall, oma’s recently completed addition to the Cornell College of Architecture, Art and Planning, should be considered in this context.
View of the overhang structure.
View of the overhang structure.
Having learned from setbacks on other US work, such as the cancellation of projects for the Whitney Museum and LACMA, and thrown into a muddled process involving antagonistic preservationists and campus purists, OMA’s solution is sly and subtle. “It’s definitely an exercise in modest, discreet intervention,” Koolhaas has said. The building is basically a steel box with studio space sitting on top of a concrete mound containing assembly areas. This simple composition is remarkably well placed, barely visible from the Arts Quad, on what used to be a back parking lot. Tightly clad in white and grey striated marble, it is a wolf in a sheep’s hide. From the exterior it is an unimposing building—the cantilever was introduced later in the design to appease concerns about the structure’s proximity to the historic Foundry Building—but once inside new linkages and an intricate section unleash an array of dynamic flows and usages. It connects the previously separated Sibley and Rand halls and has instigated a reprogramming of those existing buildings. Its intelligent siting combined with a rich circulatory system produces a series of overlaps, slips, cracks and vistas. It reorients the entire college and creates a relational and programmatic complexity that is one of OMA’s hallmarks.
The moulded metal ceiling<br /><br />
panels are a reference to the<br /><br />
vernacular buildings of New<br /><br />
York. Below the overhang,<br /><br />
the floor slab of the cupola is<br /><br />
dotted with rubber seating.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe moulded metal ceiling panels are a reference to the vernacular buildings of New York. Below the overhang, the floor slab of the cupola is dotted with rubber seating.
The steel box offers large raw studio spaces filled with daylight. In a didactic nod, all systems and structures are left exposed. A series of informal gathering and presentation spaces enrich the neutrality of the box. It rests coolly on a grid of blackpainted steel columns, while the ground below is inflated to form a defaced concrete dome—punctured, ripped and cut. This spherical rupture in the campus tissue, with its integrated lighting and sprinkler systems, is a gutsy feat in a country where the shift from new Brutalism to Post-Modernism eradicated concrete craft. The heroics are in the basement. A beefy column crutch casually supports the corner of the dome that carries the auditorium seating above. An extraordinary cast-in-place concrete bridge spans across the dome space column-free to connect entrance to auditorium and forms a viewing balcony into the critique space below. Acoustical concerns in this exposed space are muted through felt lining and the bush hammering of the peripheral wall—or is this a subtle reference to Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building?
The main staircase to the<br /><br />
design studios.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe main staircase to the design studios.
The lessons of Ungers and the dawn of post-modernity resound throughout the building. It is an arrangement of autonomous, basic geometries. Through its positioning, the modern box typology transforms to a non-sentimental tissue insert. For the scheme’s materialisation and detailing oma offers a concoction of references. But rather than signifying early modernism they appear to denote the office’s previous work itself. IIT is present through the contained modern box—the dirty Mies; the large elevator fitted with a chair and a lamp create a roomlike condition that recalls Maison à Bordeaux; an assembly of structural systems and components remind us of the Kunsthal; the use of the slope of the auditorium to create spaces below points to the Educatorium; the combination of “elite” and popular materials; the pressed white aluminium ceiling; the transforming lecture hall floor. All seem to bring back OMA’s early work—the pre-enigmatic era. Only the token Petra Blaisse-designed curtains carry references to classic architecture.
On the first floor, a mirror-surfaced<br /><br />
closet separates<br /><br />
the tiered auditorium from<br /><br />
the student areas.
Testo alternativo ImmagineOn the first floor, a mirror-surfaced closet separates the tiered auditorium from the student areas.
Just before he passed away, OMU mentioned to Koolhaas in an interview published in log: “There is a great misunderstanding among architects. They think they are inventors and always need to be avant-garde. But you cannot permanently exist as an avant-garde. That is impossible. Architecture can be carried forward in a dialectical process, meaning a confrontation with the existing or with that which one wants to provoke at a certain moment. From a morphological point of view—which is not exclusive but inclusive, and not contrary but complementary—you can assess that certain elements are missing that could be added.”
The dome space is crossed by a grid-structured concrete bridge, with a free span of more than 20 metres.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe dome space is crossed by a grid-structured concrete bridge, with a free span of more than 20 metres.
Milstein Hall does exactly that. At the end of two decades of iconicity it revokes the early debates around Post-Modernism. It reintroduces a forward-looking, intelligent architecture into anaesthetised campus design. It adds new layers of complexity to a discourse that has gone silent. Koolhaas’s act appears remarkably timely. This fall, the V&A in London is hosting a comprehensive retrospective titled Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970–1990, Jencks has just published The Story of Post-Modernism, and Terence Riley, this year’s curator of the Shenzhen–Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale, is doing a rerun of Portoghesi’s Street, albeit with new names. Seemingly tame, Milstein Hall could be Pandora’s box. Its agenda is so ambitious that to be realised it could never be openly stated. Is it a prelude or a coda?
Florian Idenburg
The<br /><br />
auditorium in the basement<br /><br />
level. The curtains, designed<br /><br />
by Petra Blaisse, pay homage<br /><br />
to classical architecture.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe auditorium in the basement level. The curtains, designed by Petra Blaisse, pay homage to classical architecture.
Design Architects: OMA
Partners-in-Charge: Rem Koolhaas, Shohei Shigematsu
Associate-in-charge: Ziad Shehab
Design Team: Jason Long, Michael Smith, Troy Schaum, Charles Berman, Amparo Casani, Noah Shepherd
Architect of Record: KHA Architects
Team: Laurence Burns, Jim Bash, Brandon Beal, Michael Ta, Stephen Heptig, Sharon Giles
Structural Engineering: Robert Silman Associates
MEP/FP: Plus Group Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineering, Site Utilities: GIE Niagara Engineering Inc.
Civil Engineering, Site and Grading: T.G. Miller
Acoustical Consultant: DHV V.B.
Facade Design and Engineering Consultant: Front
Lighting Consultant: Tillotson Design Associates
Landscape Architect: Scape Landscape Architecture
Curtain Design: Inside Outside, Petra Blaisse
Graphic Design: 2×4
Audio/Visual Consultant: Acentech
Roofing Consultant: BPD Roof Consulting
Elevator Consultant: Persohn/Hahn Associates
IT/Data/Security Consultant: Archi-Technology
Sustainability Consultant: BVM Engineering
Client: Cornell University, College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP)
Testo alternativo Immagine
Testo alternativo Immagine
Testo alternativo Immagine
Testo alternativo Immagine
January 1, 2012

Rothschild Bank Headquarters | OMA

OMA recently completed their first building in London. The new 21,000sqm building is located in the narrow medieval alley of St Swithin’s Lane, in the heart of the City, a dense context where OMA’s precise intervention is able to blend and become an active urban piece.

The building, thanks to its structural  design, is lifted from the ground exposing new situations, connections and views, detonator of a new  streetscape where the public realm is as important as the office space above.

You can see Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon discussing this project on a video posted earlier at ArchDaily.

More information courtesy of OMA after the break:

Project: Rothschild Bank Headquarters
Year: 2011
Client: NM Rothschild & Sons
Location: St Swithin’s Lane, City of London
Site: New Court, enclosed in cluster of buildings, adjacent to the 17th century St. Stephen Walbrook church; with main entrance on the narrow St. Swithin’s Lane
Program: Office headquarters: 13,000m2
Partners in charge: Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon

OMA’s design for New Court is the fourth iteration of NM Rothschild & Sons’ London headquarters, all of them built on the increasingly dense and architecturally rich site on St. Swithin’s Lane, a narrow medieval alley in the heart of the City.

M. Rothschild established residence at New Court in 1809. In 1865 the first of two Rothschild- commissioned New Court bank buildings was completed. One hundred years later, the Victorian New Court, which Rothschild had long since outgrown, was demolished and replaced with a new building, which proved to be even more short-lived and obscured views of Christopher Wren’s domed church of St. Stephen Walbrook, built in 1677.

The current rebuilding of New Court offers the opportunity to reinstate a visual connection between St. Swithin’s Lane and St. Stephen Walbrook. Instead of competing as accidental neighbours, the church and New Court now form a twinned urban ensemble, an affinity reinforced by the proportional similarity of their towers.

New Court comprises a central cube of ten efficient and flexible open-plan office floors, which facilitate views over St. Stephen’s and the surrounding City. This cube is linked to four adjoining annexes, with meeting rooms, enclosed offices, vertical circulation, reception areas, and a staff cafe and gym. The top of this central cube features a landscaped roof garden with outdoor meeting areas. This in turn is overlooked by a Sky Pavilion – a small tower with three double-height storeys peering out over the city – which houses meeting and dining rooms and a multifunctional panorama room with extraordinary and unfamiliar views across the City, including St. Paul Cathedral.

The central cube has a distinctive repeated pattern of structural steel columns embedded in the façade. At street level, the entire cube is lifted to create generous pedestrian access to the tall glass lobby and a covered forecourt that opens a visual passage to St. Stephen Walbrook and its churchyard – creating a surprising moment of transparency in the otherwise constrained opacity of the medieval streetscape.

The new building unites all of Rothschild’s London staff in one location for the first time in decades. A reading room and space for displaying the family’s archive ground the new building in the bank’s illustrious history. Through the reconnection of two precious open spaces in the City – the courtyard of New Court and the churchyard of St. Stephen Walbrook – the new New Court promises to transform St. Swithin’s Lane.

Fit Out:

Project Manager: Carol Patterson Project
Architect: Elisa Simonetti
Team: Jarek Kubik, Nina Sahebkar, Billy Choi (A&M), Andrew Dean (A&M), Saskia Simon, Katrien van Dijk, Jonah Gamblin, Anna Tjumina, Christine Peters (A&M), Mariana Rodrigues (A&M), Anna Pribylova, Lucia Zamponi, Nurdan Yakup, Jad Semaan

Stage D through construction:
Project manager: Carol Patterson
Team: Jarek Kubik, Isabel da Silva, with Dirk Peters, Rodrigo Vilas Boas, Anita Ernodi, Christoph Michael, Matt Brown, Jonah Gamblin

Allies and Morrison Architects:
Parter in Charge: Robert Maxwell
Project Architect: Andrew Dean
Team: Billy Choi, Mark Foster, Andrew McMullan, Lenny Sequeira, Joel Davenport, Juliet Harris, Sophie Lian Jie, James Petty, Stefen Schoenefuss, Frances Taylor

Planning permission & to Stage C:
Project managers: Kunle Adeyemi, Adrianne Fisher
Team: João Amaro, Clement Blanchet, Martin Gallovsky, Achim Gergen, Michel van de Kar, Keigo Kobayashi, Matthew Murphy, Daan Ooievaar, Marc Paulin, Christin Svensson, Daliana Suryawinata

Competition team: Matthew Logan Murphy, Jason Long, Anna Little, Haiko Cornelissen, Tiago Branco, Claire Destrebecq, Gustavo Guimarães, Marta Rodríguez Fernández, Nicolas Firket, Pascal Lestringant, Manuel Pelicano Moreira, Leoni Wenz

Project Manager: Stanhope
Executive architect: Allies and Morrison Architects
Structure, services, fire engineering: Arup
Cost consultants: Davis Langdon

Construction manager: Lend Lease
Planning consultants: DP9
Property consultants: Knight Frank Newmark
Townscape adviser: Peter Stewart Consultancy
Rights of light: GIA
Lighting: Gia Equation
Access: David Bonnett Associates
Archaeology: MOLAS
Landscape: Inside Outside

August 27, 2011

Shenzhen Stock Exchange | OMA

The NASDAQ equivalent Shenzhen Stock Exchange by OMA, continues to progress forward nearing completion. The latest photographs of the new building, which poses a strong representation of capitalism in , highlight the robust exoskeletal grid and the and complexity of construction.

“For millennia, the solid building stands on a solid base; it is an image that has survived modernity. Typically, the base anchors a structure and connects it emphatically to the ground. The essence of the stock market is speculation: it is based on capital, not gravity. In the case of Shenzhen’s almost virtual stock market, the role of symbolism exceeds that of the program – it is a building that has to represent the stock market, more than physically accommodate it. It is not a trading arena with offices, but an office with virtual organs that suggest and illustrate the process of the market.”


The project is based on pure volumes, a combination of a tower and a podium suspended 36m high. The podium is one of the biggest cantilevers in the world, an operation that liberates the ground to create a big public plaza which is visually connected (representing the new economic openness) to the lower part of the tower and the podium itself, the places were the stock exchange operations take place. Above the podium, there is a series of office space for internal operations of the SSE, totaling 200,000sqm for the entire building.

“The tower’s structure is a robust exoskeletal grid overlayed with a patterned glass skin – the first time such glass has been used for an exterior at this scale. The patterned glass reveals the detail and complexity of construction while creating a mysterious crystalline effect as the tower responds to light: sparkling during bright sunshine, mute on an overcast day, enigmatic at dusk, glimmering during rain and glowing at night.”


July 13, 2011

Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre by REX | OMA

2599_2_20 Wyly Exterior © Iwan Baan

321_2_Wyly - night view © Tim Hursley

2370_2_Wyly - view from terrace © Tim Hursley

2371_2_Wyly - lobby © Tim Hursley

2372_2_Wyly © Tim Hursley

2373_2_Wyly - dusk view with sign © Tim Hursley

2594_2_19 Wyly Exterior © Iwan Baan

2595_2_27 Wyly - Performance Hall © Iwan Baan

2598_2_18 Wyly Exterior © Iwan Baan

2601_2_24 Wyly - Stair to Performance Hall © Iwan Baan

2602_2_25 Wyly - Performance Hall © Iwan Baan

2603_2_26 Wyly - Performance Hall © Iwan Baan

2604_2_28 Wyly - Conference Room © Iwan Baan

2605_2_30 Wyly - Rooftop Terrace © Iwan Baan

Level 01 THRUST thrust floor plan © REX

Level 01 PROSCENIUM proscenium floor plan © REX

Level 01 FLAT FLOOR flat floor plan © REX

Level 08 eight floor plan © REX

Concept_Diagram-02-SUPERFLY_credit-REX concept diagram © REX

Architects: REX | OMA
Location: Dallas, USA
Key Personnel: Joshua Prince-Ramus (Partner-in-Charge) and Rem Koolhaas, with Erez Ella, Vincent Bandy, Vanessa Kassabian, Tim Archambault
Executive Architect: Kendall/Heaton Associates
Client: The AT&T Performing Arts Center
Consultants: Cosentini, DHV, Donnell, Front, HKA, Magnusson Klemencic, McCarthy, McGuire, Pielow Fair, Plus Group, Quinze & Milan, Theatre Projects, Tillotson Design, Transsolar, 2×4
MEP/FP Design Engineer: Transsolar Energietechnik, Germany
MEP/FP Engineer of Record: Cosentini Associates, 
Structural Engineer of Record: Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Seattle
Theatre Design: Theatre Projects Consultants, Connecticut
Acoustics: Dorsserblesgraaf, Netherlands
ADA: McGuire Associates, Massachusetts
Construction Management: McCarthy Construction
Cost: Donnell Consultants, Florida
Facades: Front, 
Furniture: Quinze & Milan, Kortrijk Belgium
Graphics/Wayfinding: 2 x 4, 
Life Safety: Pielow Fair, Seattle
Lighting: Tillotson Design Associates, 
Vertical Transport: HKA, California
Project Area: 7,700 sqm
Project year: 2006-2009
Photographs: Iwan BaanTim Hursley, Jeffrey Buehner

The Dallas Theater Center (DTC) is known for its innovative work, the result of its leadership’s constant experimentation and the provisional nature of its long-time home. DTC was housed in the Arts District Theater, a dilapidated metal shed that freed its resident companies from the limitations imposed by a fixed-stage configuration and the need to avoid harming expensive interior finishes. The directors who worked there constantly challenged the traditional conventions of theater and often reconfigured the form of the stage to fit their artistic visions. As a result, the Arts District Theater was renowned as the most flexible theater in America. The costs of constantly reconfiguring its stage, however, became a financial burden and eventually DTC permanently fixed its stage into a “thrust-cenium.”

Imagining a replacement for DTC’s old house raised several distinct challenges. First, the new theater needed to engender the same freedoms created by the makeshift nature of its previous home. Second, the new venue needed to be flexible and multi-form while requiring minimal operational costs.

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre overcomes these challenges by overturning conventional theater design. Instead of circling front-of-house and back-of-house functions around the auditorium and fly tower, the Wyly Theatre stacks these facilities below-house and above-house. This strategy transforms the building into one big “theater machine.” At the push of a button, the theater can be transformed into a wide array of configurations—including proscenium, thrust, and flat floor—freeing directors and scenic designers to choose the stage-audience configuration that fulfills their artistic desires. Moreover, the performance chamber is intentionally made of materials that are not precious in order to encourage alterations; the stage and auditorium surfaces can be cut, drilled, painted, welded, sawed, nailed, glued and stitched at limited cost.

Stacking the Wyly Theatre’s ancillary facilities above- and below-house also liberates the performance chamber’s entire perimeter, allowing fantasy and reality to mix when and where desired. Directors can incorporate the Dallas skyline and streetscape into performances at will, as the auditorium is enclosed by an acoustic glass façade with hidden black-out blinds that can be opened or closed. Panels of the façade can also be opened to allow patrons or performers to enter into the auditorium or stage directly from outside, bypassing the downstairs lobby.

By investing in infrastructure that allows ready transformation and liberating the performance chamber’s perimeter, the Wyly Theatre grants its artistic directors freedom to determine the entire theater experience, from audience arrival to performance configuration to departure. On consecutive days, the Wyly Theatre can produce Shakespeare on a proscenium stage or Beckett in a flat-floor configuration silhouetted against the Dallas cityscape. Both learning from, and improving upon, DTC’s original Arts District Theater, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre will restore Dallas as the home of the most flexible theater in America, if not the world.

June 22, 2011

Global Financial Center in Shanghai | OMA

Shanghai is a fragmented collage of different scales and styles. The identity of the city lies in the diversity of traditional, colonial, communist, and “post-modern” architecture united only through the city’s history. The Global Financial Centre on the Bund – yet another mixed-use project among all these opposing elements – has the natural task of addressing and emphasizing all the contradicting qualities of Shanghai without compromising their benefits.

The schizophrenic character of Shanghai calls for a cohesive agent: our project is a cluster of similar tilting towers but with different heights and footprints of different scales. The varying scales of each footprint allow different programs to inhabit the same complex and follow the logic of the site, with a smaller scale facing the old town, mitigating the difference between the various typologies surrounding the site. Global Financial Center on the Bund incorporates the richness of the small and the big, the local and the international, “hard” structures and “soft” elements, natural forms and man-made constructions. It can become a new landmark for Shanghai that is immediate, unique and identifiable while simultaneously remaining a fully-integrated and representative piece of the city’s rich culture.

Global Financial Centre on the Bund is grounded in the city’s history and leads the way to its future, creating a new cityscape that adapts both to the varied demands of the program and the complexity of Shanghai. A new identity is found by anticipating and utilizing the city’s diversity. The overall unity ofOMA’s design has the ability to form a landmark in Shanghai’s congested skyline – where new developments compete for attention with the same methods: height and form.




May 16, 2011

Seattle Public Library, Main Branch #3, Seattle, WA

ID: 3151

Alt. Name:

Seattle Public Library, Central Library #3, Seattle, WA
Seattle Library Downtown Branch #3, Seattle, WA

Construction Date:

Start Date: 2000   End Date: 2004

Building History:

Competition occurred in 1999, among five invited firms: Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Rotterdam, Netherlands; Steven Holl, New York, NY; Norman Foster and Partners, London, UK; Cesar Pelli, New Haven, CT; and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF), Portland, OR; finalists were OMA, Steven Holl, and ZGF; OMA awarded the contract in September 1999; OMA Partners-in-Charge: Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus; LMN Partner-in-Charge: John Nesholm; Seattle City Librarian, Deborah Jacobs, collaborated with OMA and LMN closely on the project; Jacobs emphasized a collaborative approach to design, eliciting ideas from the public and staff in frequent meetings; renowned engineer, Cecil Balmond, Chairman of Europe & Building Division at Arup, the huge engineering firm, participated in the engineering work on the building; Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners engineered the glass curtain wall façade; the curtain wall was awarded an American Institute of Architects Washington Chapter 2000 Award; Hoffman Construction Company was the building contractor; subsequent to the building’s completion, a dispute arose over cost over-runs between Hoffman Construction and the administration of the Seattle Public Library; Bruce Mau Design Incorporated, Toronto, ON, consulted on the library’s signage; Petra Blaisse was the landscape architect; in 1999, the scheduled completion date was 2003, although several factors conspired to delay the opening: asbestos removal from the old library was slow, the construction company experienced excavation problems, a retaining wall on Fifth Avenue needed extra repairs, and delays occurred in the ordering of the steel members forming for the facade; the building actually opened Sunday, 05/23/2004;

Structure Type:

built works – social and civic buildings – libraries


1000 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA
map latlong or map of street number


Arup, Ove , (1438)
Balmond, Cecil , (1969)
Blaisse, Petra , (1958)
Brown, Jim , (1899)
Dewhurst, Laurence , (1698)
Hoffman, Lee Hawley , (1700)
Hunter, Adam , (1898)
Koolhaas, Rem , (1180)
Loschky, George , (1956)
Macfarlane, Timothy , (1699)
Marquardt, Judsen , (1957)
Mau, Bruce , (505)
McBride, Damien , (1897)
Nesholm, John F., (1578)
Ramus, Joshua , (1577)
Zimmer, Robert , (1618)


Arup, Ove, and Partners (1011)
Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners, Structural Engineers (1219)
Hoffman Construction Company (1220)
Inside / Outside, Landscape Architects (1408)
Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN) (1127)
Mau, Bruce, Design Incorporated (1221)
Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) (794)


Knecht, Barbara, “Defining Component-Based Design”, Architectural Record, 153-160, 7/2004. 
Olson, Sheri, “How Seattle learned to stop worrying and love Rem Koolhaas’plans for a new Central Library”,Architectural Record, 120-125, 8/2000. 
Olson, Sheri, “Thanks to OMA’s blending of cool information technology and warm public spaces Seattle’s Central Library kindles book lust”, Architectural Record, 192: 7, 88-101, 7/2004. 
Lamprecht, Barbara, “The nice and the good: library, Seattle, USA”, Architectural Review, 216: 1290, 52-57, 
“Been there”, Architecture Boston, 9: 1, 14-19, 01-02/2006. 
Kipnis, Jeffrey, “A Time for Freedom”, Architecture Interruptus, 18-20, 2007. 
“Bibliothek in Seattle”, Arch Plus, 156: 56-65, 5/2001. 
Hantzschel, Jarg, “Zentralbibliothek in Seattle”, Baumeister, 101: 7, 40-49, 7/2004. 
Clausen, Meredith L., “Infopools und atmende Bucherregale : Entwurf Offentliche Bibliothek Seattle”, Bauwelt, 94: 27-28, 22-24, 7/25/2003. 
“Seattle Central Library”, GA Document, 80: Front cover, 8-61, 6/2004. 
“Seattle Public Library”, Library Journal, 130: 2, 15, 02/01/2005. 
“Algoritmi genetici: il diagramma delle funzioni trasformato in forma spettacolare in tre progetti di OMA a Seattle, Berlino e Seul = Genetic algorithm: the functional diagram transformed in spectacular fashion in three projects by OMA in Seattle, Berlin and Seoul.”, Lotus International, 127: 52-65, 
Ouroussoff, Nicolai, “Civic Boosterism Never Looked So Sexy”, New York Times, 2, 46, 12/26/2004. 
Patton, Phil, “DESIGN; I Like the New Car, but I Love the New Building”, New York Times, 7, 10/26/2005. 
Gunderson, Mary Parlato, “Letters to the Editor: Libraries Venues are sanctuaries for creative imaginations”,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B7, 11/16/2007. 
“Library architect earns Pritzker Prize”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 04/17/2000. 
Marshall, John Douglas, “Rem’s bling-bling ; the library Rem Koolhaas almost didn’t get the chance to design”,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, F1, 5/23/2004. 
Mulady, Kathy, “Library steeling for work delays”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B3, 3/26/2003. 
Manahan, William W., “Letters to the Editor: Mountains of praise tempered by critical look”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, D3, 04/01/2007. 
“Plans for new library unveiled today: Architect will show conceptual drawings at Benaroya meeting”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer , C7, 12/15/1999. 
Eskenazi, Stuart, “Something for everyone”, Seattle Times, A1, A12, 09/12/2008. 
Gilmore, Susan, “Library funds put back into city’s budget”, Seattle Times, B2, 11/13/2009. 
“Rahner Q & A Rem Koolhaas”, Seattle Times, E1-E2, 09/09/2008. 
“Nordstrom + The Library + Frederick and Nelson + The Convention Center + The Mayor + Developers = The Deal That Ate Downtown”, Seattle Weekly, 17-21, 23-25, 02/09/1994. 
Lacayo, Richard, “Rem Koolhaas”, Time, 171: 19, 105, 05/12/2008. 


Bruce Mau Design Inc. (646) Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners Engineering structures worldwide (645) LMN Architects (752) News Release 20 April 1999 Library Board narrows list of architects to design new central library on April 22 (1605) Office of Metropolitan Architecture (744) On Architecture: How the new central library really stacks up (1913) Seattle downtown library: a modern marvel? (3431) Seattle Public Library (747)Seattle’s Eccentric ‘Book Behemoth’ Shatters Stereotypes (1778)

April 10, 2011

National Art Museum of China, Beijing | OMA

Project Details:
Location: New cultural district in Olympic Green, Beijing – China
Type: Cultural – Public
Architects: OMA –
Status: Competition first phase: 2010/11
Client: National Art Museum of China
Site: 30,000m2
Program: 128,000m2 for permanent collection and temporary exhibition spaces

NAMOC, a new presence on the Olympic Green


In the past two decades, our museums have become larger and larger; they have now reached a scale at which they can no longer be understood as (large) buildings, but only as (small) cities. Given the area that it covers, the vast number of artworks it will house, the numbers of visitors it will inevitably attract, the turnover of exhibitions it will have to accommodate, NAMOC can be the first museum in the world based on this new paradigm, the first museum conceived as a small city.

In this way, it can incorporate a significant number of breakthroughs, revolutionizing the way in which the museum works today. Like a city, it could mix sectors, ‘official’ and grassroots, it could have a centre and a periphery, a Chinese and an international district, modern and historical areas, commercial and ‘government’ neighbourhoods. Like a city, individual sections need not be permanent; areas can be redefined, renovated, or even replaced, without compromising the whole.

Olympic Green plan and section


NAMOC, Lantern and City

To plan NAMOC as a city does not mean that it cannot offer the intimacy that remains the essence of the museum experience: like any city, its individual parts can be small, humane… But like a city, it will offer a degree of variety that will be unique for a single museum. Part of it will be public, other parts could be commercial…

Museum as city


The Lantern, accommodating temporary exhibitions

The architecture of the main plinth offers a range of classical, orthogonal museum spaces, to more contemporary, freer forms. Like any city, circulation can be efficient and direct – for larger groups – or meandering and individual. The story of Chinese art can be told, or discovered. The main circulation of the city is based on a five-pointed star that leads from the multiple entry points on the periphery to the centre. Here, the star connects to the ‘lantern’, a multistory stack of platforms, wrapped in a red skin, on which temporary exhibitions and events are arranged with the smooth efficiency of a convention centre. Although its internal organization is rational, the elastic skin stretched around the metallic frame makes it look like a mystery…

The multiple functions of NAMOC


Section of City and Lantern


The City

The Lantern is the three-dimensional emblem of NAMOC; a single tangential axis relates the Lantern to the Bird’s Nest. In contrast to the intricacy of the city, the six main floors of the Lantern offer wide open spaces, so that the architecture does not interfere with the organization of the exhibitions or events.

Curatorial programs in the City


Inside the Lantern

In the thickness of the floors, offices, library, research and other services are accommodated; in the ‘City’ they are concentrated on the five arms of the star.

Inside the City


Conceptually, the two halves of NAMOC – ‘City’ and Lantern – are complementary: like the city today, they offer radically different experiences: the small scale, intricate condition of the traditional urban fabric of China, and the contemporary era of radical modernization…

<p><a href=”″>National Art Museum of China</a> from <a href=”″>OMA</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

January 30, 2011

Update on Shenzhen Stock Exchange by OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

In Progress: Shenzhen Stock Exchange © OMA

Continuing our coverage of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SSE), OMA recently shared the latest photographs of the building while under construction. The building, located in the downtown area of Shenzhen, , is expected to reach completion in April 2011.  The SSE, a new headquarters for ’s equivalent of the NASDAQ, is 132,000 sqm of offices, registration and clearing house, accessory area, securities information company, SSE office area, trading floor and technical operations.  The floating podium design, which is suspended 36 meters over a public plaza, projects 54 meters from the base of the tower.  The building broke ground in November of 2007, Rem Koolhaas along with local government and the officials from the SSE were in attendance.  Check out our previous coverage here.

Follow the break for the latest photographs of SSE.